22 May 2023
G7 leaders met in Hiroshima to adopt a joint communiqué reaffirming their support to Ukraine as well as their commitment to peace and to the principles of the UN Charter.
Heads of State or Government of Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and United States as well as representatives from the EU addressed some of the most pressing geopolitical and economic issues facing the world, including war, poverty, inflation, the cost-of-living crisis, debt sustainability and climate change.
While a number of commitments made by Leaders go in the right direction, the specific measures announced will require careful follow-up to make sure they are implemented.
For the first time in years, G7 leaders echoed the call of Labour 7 and committed to “achieving a virtuous cycle of workers’ well-being and social and economic vitality, which will lead to sustainable growth and real wage growth in line with productivity”.
The leaders emphasized “that freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining play an important role in promoting decent work and wage growth”. Leaders should be taken at their word and actions should follow as millions of workers struggle with low wages in high inflation and a profit-price spiral.
This is also a much-needed recognition of the role of trade unions and social dialogue at a time when the fundamental rights of collective bargaining and freedom of association are being challenged, including in G7 countries. This must be followed by concrete actions to support workers in the fight for fair wages and better working conditions.
“We are pleased that G7 leaders recognise that freedom of association and collective bargaining are essential to face current challenges, including to achieve real wage growth. This must be followed by concrete measures, in G7 countries and beyond, to advance social dialogue and a just transition. This is defining moment for the G7 to prove to working people its relevance and impact.”
The leaders also underlined the need for G7 countries to do more to promote gender equality and emphasized the need to tackle discrimination as well as to “recognize, reduce and redistribute” unpaid care work. Again, G7 countries must now move from words to action.
The G7 further committed to step up their efforts to accelerate climate action and echoed the call made by the labour movement to implement a “just transition” that will allow countries to scale up mitigation and adaptation policies while protecting workers’ livelihoods and fundamental rights. Leaders usefully acknowledged that investing in skills and supporting workers “should not be seen as a cost”.
Accelerating climate action through a just transition will require major strategic investments in key sectors, in contrast to the current tightening of economic and fiscal policies. Furthermore, inequalities generated by climate change and environmental policies must be tackled within and between countries. In this regard, the G7 fell short of making any financial commitment to compensate losses and damages that their carbon emissions have caused.
G7 Leaders said they “remained concerned that serious challenges to debt sustainability are undermining the progress towards the SDGs”.
Veronica Nilsson commented “This is an understatement and measures announced by the G7 on debt reduction fall far short of expectations and will not allow low and middle income countries to make the necessary investments to meet the basic needs of their people.”